Many creative entrepreneurs have achieved and surpassed their funding goals on Kickstarter. Although two out of three Kickstarter campaigns fail, you can achieve tremendous success if you’re willing to put in the work and time to create a killer campaign. But what is Kickstarter, and how does Kickstarter work? This article will answer both these questions, then show you how to launch and run a wildly successful campaign on the platform.
Don’t forget that fulfillment plays a vital role in your campaign’s success, and Easyship can help with that. Our platform integrates directly with Kickstarter and allows them to easily calculate estimated shipping costs and delivery times that they can use to set realistic goals for their campaign. Once the campaign is over, we can help them easily ship their products to backers around the world.
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What Is Kickstarter?
Before you can run a successful campaign on the platform, you have to be able to answer the question, “What is Kickstarter?” This will help you figure out what the platform is and how it can help you achieve your goals.
Kickstarter is a crowdfunding platform based in Brooklyn, New York. Its mission is to help entrepreneurs bring creative projects to life. Kickstarter supports campaigns for projects in a wide range of categories, including art, comics, dance, design, fashion, film, food, games, music, photography, publishing, technology, and theater. It works best for startups and entrepreneurs with unique and creative ideas.
Launched on April 28, 2009, by Perry Chen, Charles Adler, and Yancey Strickler, Kickstarter has grown to become the most popular crowdfunding site for creative projects. As of December 2019, the platform had helped fund a total of 445,000 projects that attracted pledges from 17.2 million backers to raise more than $4.6 billion.
How Does It Work?
Now you know “What is Kickstarter,” you’re probably wondering about the way Kickstarter works. Well, it’s pretty simple, really. Any entrepreneur with an innovative idea can create a Kickstarter campaign page to explain their idea and project to encourage potential backers to fund their campaign; they can also describe how they intend to use the money raised to bring the project to life. Before your campaign goes live, though, it will have to undergo Kickstarter’s review process to ensure it meets all the platform’s guidelines.
Once your project gets the go-ahead from Kickstarter, it’s your responsibility as a creator to promote your idea and share it with your network to attract as many backers as possible. Campaigns on Kickstarter run from anywhere between one to 60 days (it is up to you to decide the exact timeline, though 30 days is the recommended length), and creators can use backer rewards to attract and encourage potential backers to support their idea during this timeframe.
It’s also essential to keep in mind that Kickstarter uses an all-or-nothing funding model. That means you won’t receive any money unless you reach or surpass your funding goal. If you fail to reach your funding goal, all the money raised will be refunded to your backers.
If you do meet your goal, though, Kickstarter will take 5% of the funds raised as a fee for using the platform; they also charge 3%-5% for a payment processing fee.
How To Launch A Kickstarter Campaign
However great your idea is, it takes time and works to bring it to fruition with a successful Kickstarter campaign. Here are some things you should consider when deciding how to launch a campaign.
- Timeline: How long will your campaign run?
- Goals: Do you want to use your campaign to achieve funding or marketing goals? How much will it take to realize your project?
- Costs: What are your campaign costs, including backers' rewards, fulfillment costs, and Kickstarter fees?
- Campaign channels: Which channels are you going to use to promote your campaign?
A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a Great Campaign
So, you’re ready to launch your winning Kickstarter campaign? Great! Here’s exactly how to do it.
- Hit “Start a Project” and create an account for your campaign.
- Choose a category and title for your project.
- Add your project details - this includes photos, videos, great descriptions.
- Set your funding goal.
- Set a project deadline.
- Set your backer rewards - you can create multiple for different donation tiers.
- Build your brand by adding your biography - this includes a photo, your name and bio, and social media page connections.
- Submit your bank information (so you can start collecting donations!)
After launching your Kickstarter campaign, you need to do plenty of work to keep your backers updated and reach out to new ones so that you can reach your funding goals. Use social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, to reach out to your audience and entice them into backing your campaign.
Once you’ve reached your funding goals, keep communicating with your backers, and let them know what’s happening next in terms of production and delivery timelines.
10 Tips for a Successful Kickstarter Campaign
It takes a fair amount of time and effort to create and run a successful campaign. But with the right knowledge, it shouldn't be that difficult. Use these ten insider tips to make sure your campaign is a runaway success.
1. Understand the scope of your project
Kickstarter only allows certain types of campaigns. So, the first thing you need to do is to ensure that your project is within the scope of what Kickstarter supports. For instance, you can’t run a charitable or general business campaign on the platform. Kickstarter will only allow your project if it has measurable goals, a clear beginning, and an end date.
Another thing you need to know is how long or complex your project is. If it’s very long and complex, consider dividing it into several stages and funding these separately. Each phase should have its own funding target and delivery goal. If you set specific, measurable project goals, Kickstarter will most likely approve your project. Your potential backers will also be confident and motivated to support your campaign because they can easily understand what they are funding.
2. Establish your project’s timeline
It’s imperative to establish your project's timeline because that will dictate several things, such as how long your campaign should run, how long it will take to deliver the finished product, and delivery dates for your backers' rewards. Projects tend to gain momentum at the beginning and towards the end of the campaign but lag in the middle, so if you run a long campaign, you risk experiencing a dead zone in the middle.
While you can run your campaign anywhere between one to 60 days, projects with the highest success rates on Kickstarter last for 30 days or less. You need to strike a balance between your campaign duration and your backers' attention span. After the campaign is over, make sure to allow yourself enough time to finish your project so that you won't disappoint your backers with rushed or late rewards.
3. Define your funding goal
Kickstarter uses an all-or-nothing funding model. That means you will only receive the money if the project reaches its financial goal within the specified period; otherwise, you will receive no money. So, you should avoid setting your funding goal unreasonably high. Set your goal at the minimum amount you need to create your product. This will help you attract more backers and reach your goals faster.
When setting your funding goal, make sure to account for production and manufacturing costs, employee salaries, company overheads such as rent, and packaging and shipping costs. Don’t forget to use Kicktraq to look at other successful campaigns that are similar to yours and see the number of backers they attracted and the total funds raised.
4. Describe your Project Properly
The way you lay out content on your campaign page is crucial; it’s your one shot at selling your idea to your audience, and you will lose their money if you don't capture their attention. Your project page needs to be informative with a clear project name and descriptions of your product or service so that any potential backers visiting the page can understand it at a glance. Let your backers know about your big idea, how and why it is beneficial to them, and how you plan to use their money to achieve it.
Tell the story behind what you’re doing and create a sense of urgency by telling your backers why they need to support your project right now. Avoid using excessive technical jargon in your descriptions; use clear, concise language that will appeal to everyone; use headings and bullet points to break complex paragraphs into easily digestible chunks that direct your visitors' eyes to the most critical points; don't forget to use a variety of media such as product photos, videos, design drawings, and infographics to convey unusual or complex ideas.
5. Create a killer campaign video
Creating a killer campaign video takes time, but including one on your campaign page is essential. A Kickstarter project with a video is 50% more likely to succeed, while a project without has only a 30% success rate. Also, your video thumbnail is the first thing that people see when they visit your campaign page. So, make sure that it’s strategic, inviting, and piques the visitor's curiosity. In your video, make sure to introduce yourself and tell the story behind your project, then come out and ask people to support you, talk about how awesome your rewards are, and explain why it’s vital that you reach your campaign's goal. Finally, thank everyone.
6. Use campaign rewards
Backer rewards are incentives aimed at encouraging backers to support your idea. Your rewards should be related to your project. The rewards should vary depending on the amount a backer gives, with more exclusive rewards, such as meet-and-greets, reserved for the backers with the highest pledges. Make sure the rewards aren’t out of your backer’s reach. $25 is the most popular pledge, while the average pledge is around $70. So, you should make sure that you have plenty of rewards around these price points.
7. Prepare for the pre-launch
Before your campaign goes live, you should already have some donors set to pledge. These can be your friends, board or family members, and some loyal customers. This will ensure your campaign hits the ground running and puts it on the path to success. Go live when most of your target audience is going to be online and able to watch your video, read your campaign page, and share it with their networks.
8. Take advantage of social media
Social media is a great way to promote your campaign and ensure its success. Reach out to your Twitter followers, Facebook fans, email newsletters contacts, and other social media channels. Create a dedicated Facebook page where you can share updates of your progress and keep the project visible. Don’t forget to reach out to your backers and ask them to spread the word by sharing the project among their networks.
9. Keep updating and promoting your project
Keep sharing updates on your campaign page and networks anytime you hit a substantial milestone. Updates like 25% funded, 50% funded, or 75% funded will give potential backers the confidence to chip in to be part of that success. Backers will remain enthusiastic and feel more invested in your project if you keep them updated with important milestones, videos, photos of your progress, and essential team events.
10. Don’t stop after hitting your target
Don't sit back and relax if you hit your funding goal before your campaign ends. This is the time to continue campaigning so that you can exceed your goals! Even after the campaign ends, keep your backers posted about your project's progress and possible dates when you can begin shipping any outstanding rewards. If there’s any change of plan or any potential delays in production, don't keep your backers in the dark; they will appreciate it if you remain transparent and share these updates with them.
Easyship and Kickstarter
If you want to run a successful campaign on Kickstarter, it’s vital to consider fulfillment and shipping costs while you’re planning your campaign. If you don't, these costs can eat into the funds you raise and lead to problems in funding production and shipping, which could spell failure for your project. Easyship can help you figure out your fulfillment costs in the planning stage. You can use our shipping calculators to estimate your shipping costs to different countries, how much you need to pay in taxes and duties, and how long it will take.
The best part is that Easyship integrates with Kickstarter so shipping your rewards to your backers becomes a hassle-free process. Our shipping platform offers a range of useful features and automations so that you can get the shipping done and focus on more important things!
We’ve also had plenty of experience with Kickstarter campaigns - most recently with Keyboardio - so we can help you figure out exactly the type of shipping solutions you need. Speak to your experienced team now for advice about fulfilling your campaign!
Fund Your Next Venture with a Great Kickstarter Campaign
Kickstarter remains the most popular crowdfunding platform for creative projects and many entrepreneurs have used it to run successful Kickstarter campaigns. Now that you can easily answer the question, “What is Kickstarter,” and understand how the platform works, you can use the above tips to create a great campaign!Remember that Easyship can help you figure out your campaign expenses and fulfillment costs and offer you a streamlined shipping solution. All you need to do is create a free Easyship account and integrate it with your campaign to start!